The reason Phil Murphy illegally gave a job to Marcellus Jackson is the same reason he insisted before an African-American audience he was proud he did so. Courting the black vote. Jackson helped, and this was a quid pro quo.

During the campaign Murphy courted a relationship with the Calvary Baptist Church in Garfield as an 'in' to black voters. Rev. Calvin McKinney was a pastor there who heavily supported Murphy's campaign. When he had a stroke, along came Marcellus Jackson who stepped in as a liaison between the church and Murphy. Once Murphy won, like all cheesy politicians it came time to return favors. That meant a $70,000 per year job with the state Department of Education. The problem? It was an illegal hire. Jackson spent years in prison for public corruption. He was a dirty Passaic City councilman on the take, caught by undercover FBI agents accepting bribes. State law says once you're convicted of such a crime you cannot be eligible for public positions anymore. Murphy's own Attorney General Gurbir Grewal pointed this out and Jackson quickly resigned.

Yet Murphy was unapologetic. In fact he defiantly said he hoped to do more hiring of this sort in the future. Thursday brought him to speak at the Annual NJ Black Issues Leadership Conference in Newark. There he continued to double down on his pride in hiring someone who was corrupt and wasn't legally eligible for the job.

"I've taken a lot of heat on this in the past couple of weeks and I'm glad to take that heat because this is a teaching moment. Folks are gonna have to understand that New Jersey will be the state that gives second chances."

Excuse me, Phil? What are you planning on doing exactly? Circumventing state law?

He actually had the audacity to says his "breath was taken away" by the negative reaction to Jackson's hiring. In previous statements, he said his "jaw was on the floor when I saw so many folks, including so many friends of mine, condemning this guy. And they said just because it's public corruption. With all due respect, that's a slippery slope."

I wish I could throw in a confused looking Bitmoji at this point. What exactly is a slippery slope or difficult to understand? That you don't give someone convicted of public corruption another public position where they could potentially commit more? This governor doesn't get it. Even though his own "friends" had a major problem with Marcellus Jackson's hiring, he still refuses to admit he blundered.

Worse, in the aftermath of the controversy and speaking about ex-cons deserving second chances he remarked, "it is invariably a person of color we're talking about."

So, Phil, white ex-cons don't need second chances then? Bottom line is this has nothing to do with race. This was someone who violated the public trust and should not be rewarded with more public trust. Period. But this governor plays the race card and wants to position anyone who has an opposite point of view as racist. It's despicable, and he owes us all an apology.

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